The mother of the 20-year-old Brockton man shot and killed during an exchange of gunfire with Boston police on Wednesday called her son a “good kid” who grew into a follower and who chose the wrong people for his friends.
That, however, did not justify the use of deadly force against her son, Roudy Hendricks, she said.
“He didn’t deserve to die that way,’’ Deborah Price said in a telephone interview. “He was shot down like an animal. He did not deserve to die that way.”
According to Boston police and Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley, two plainclothes officers were conducting a drug investigation in Dorchester around 2 p.m. near the intersection of Dorchester Avenue and Shepton Street.
The officers, identified as Harry Jean and Terry Cotton, saw two men acting suspiciously. When the officers approached, one of the two men opened fire with a handgun, launching a gun battle with police, officials said.
Hendricks was shot and rushed to Boston Medical Center, where he was later pronounced dead.
The officers, both 24-year veterans, were struck, but not seriously harmed. One officer was grazed by a bullet, and the second was shot twice in the leg and rushed to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center for treatment.
The second suspect remains at large, officials said.
The use of deadly force by the officers is under review by Conley.
Authorities said they were trying to determine what caused the initial confrontation and the exchange of gunfire with police, which brought a massive police presence and left many residents deeply unsettled.
Hendricks’s mother today summarized what police have told her about the way in which her son was fatally wounded.
“They’re telling me that there were two officers doing a stakeout on a drug house and they saw two guys who looked suspicious,’’ she said. “When they [police] got out of the car, the two guys started shooting at them. Roudy was one of those two guys.”
Price said she did not know who the second person with her son was.
A makeshift memorial on Shepton Street today drew a man to the neighborhood who identified himself as George. He stood in front of a line of candles and said a prayer.
He said he met Hendricks when they were boys attending The Church of God of Prophecy in Roxbury and the two formed a close friendship through the years. Hendricks was active in church and participated in youth service and the annual Christmas play.
“He was a quiet person,” the friend recalled. “He did everything he was asked to do.”
But the two lost touch when Hendricks moved to Brockton after he got in some trouble, George said.
They happened upon each other around noon Tuesday as George was driving through Fields Corner, a short distance from where Hendricks would be shot to death a day later.
George stopped his car on Dorchester Avenue and Hendricks ran to the vehicle.
“I asked him what he was up to and he smiled,” George said.
Also today, Louiffrant Altidor, 35, said he would often see Hendricks in the Ashmont area in Dorchester, a neighborhood that heavily armed police swarmed on Wednesday after the gunfire. They played pickup basketball at the court on Florida Street and gave each other “dap,” or a fist bump, when they ran into each other.
On Wednesday, Altidor said he was taking shade under a tree at Shepton Street when Hendricks happened by, walking past on Dorchester Avenue. Hendricks walked to the tree and greeted Altidor.
They talked for a few minutes, Hendricks turned around, walked back towards Dorchester Avenue — and gunfire broke out, he said.
Altidor, who jumped into a yard for cover, said he did not see who was firing or any confrontation between Hendricks or anyone. He did not know if Hendricks was armed on Wednesday, he said.
While Boston Police Commissioner Edward F. Davis said last night that Hendricks had a lengthy and violent record, Price said her son was arrested a total of four times since he was 17 years old, and two of those were for violating terms of his probation by removing an ankle monitoring bracelet he was ordered to wear.
“He did have a couple of run-ins where he was arrested. It was regular stuff kids would get into,’’ she said. “He was arrested four times, but two times were because he was on probation and he took the bracelet off.”
According to court records and the Boston police Web page, Hendricks was arrested for illegal possession of a firearm and illegal possession of ammunition in 2010 and was later tried in the gun court in Boston Municipal Court, where he was found not guilty this January.
Hendricks had a case pending in Dorchester Municipal Court stemming from his arrest while allegedly driving a stolen car, records show.
According to his mother, Hendricks regularly attended church while growing up with her.
“Roudy grew up in church. He was a very respectful kid. You would never hear him say anything bad to an adult,’’ she said.
She added: “Anything he got into wasn’t because he was a leader, he was a follower. He chose the wrong people and made bad decisions.’’
She said her son loved to play basketball, loved to DJ, and recently learned that he and his girlfriend were just a few months away from having their first child.
She said her son recently moved to Brockton to live with her and cut ties with the people who led him astray in the past. He was supposed to be on his way home when the gunfight broke out, she said.
“He was trying to change some things in his life. That’s why he moved out to Brockton,” Price said. “In a couple of instances he happened to go to Boston, and he got caught up with the same people he got in trouble with before.”
Price said Hendricks was part of a large extended family whose death has shaken them all.
“He was a very good kid,’’ she said. “He had a huge family. We are all going to miss him.”
Mobile users unable to see the video, click here.John R. Ellement of the Globe Staff contributed to this report. Colin A. Young can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @ColinAYoung. Meghan Irons can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @meghanirons.